Lovett, B. J., Lewandowski, L. J., & Carter, L. (2019). Separate room testing accommodations for students with and without ADHD . Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment , 37 (7), 852–862.

Journal Article

Lovett, B. J., Lewandowski, L. J., & Carter, L. (2019). Separate room testing accommodations for students with and without ADHD. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 37(7), 852–862.


Attention problem; Individual; No disability; Postsecondary; Reading; Specialized setting; U.S. context




The separate room accommodation, a private room with no other examinees present, was investigated. Varied practices have included test proctors in the room in some instances but not in others.


A total of 69 postsecondary students attending a public college in a northeastern state (U.S.) participated. Twenty-seven (n=27) participants had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 42 did not have ADHD. Demographic information including age, sex (male/female), and race/ethnicity were reported, along with postsecondary year of attendance. Participant self-report of their recent challenges associated with ADHD was accomplished with the Current Symptoms Scale from the Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale-IV (BAARS-IV; Barkley, 2011), using a 4-point rating scale from “never or rarely” to “very often.” Distractibility was self-reported with 18 items (Lovett & Lewandowski, 2018) using a 5-point scale of degree, an adapted version of a similar tool originally developed by Paulhus et al. (1990).

Dependent Variable

Reading comprehension was measured with the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT) forms G and H (Brown et al., 1993), which was a time-limited achievement test administered in paper-and-pencil format. The number of items attempted by each participant was also documented and served as an indication of effort on this timed assessment.


There was no interaction between participants’ disability status and their accommodation status for either their performance on the NDRT timed reading comprehension task or on the number of items that they completed. Participants with and without ADHD demonstrated differences in their degree of benefit from the accommodation, with 41% of students with ADHD having substantial benefit. There were defined but non-significant associations between severity of self-reported distractibility symptoms and degree of benefit. The researchers concluded that completing the reading comprehension assessment in a separate room did not provide differential benefits for postsecondary students with ADHD.